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When you leave your kids with a babysitter, you want to be confident they are safe. Having four kids of my own, I’ve been there. Finding a good babysitter can be a challenge, and knowing what needs to be communicated can seem overwhelming. Here are some great tips for keeping kids safe with a babysitter, plus a free printable babysitter checklist to help take the stress out of leaving your kids with a babysitter.
How Do You Find a Babysitter?
Ask local friends and family for recommendations. Hiring a trusted family friend is ideal. Our regular babysitter is the youngest child of a family we’ve known for over 20 years. We know her well and our kids had multiple positive interactions with her prior to her babysitting them.
We’ve also put out feelers at a local Christian college to find babysitters when we were desperate and didn’t have family or friends to help. So far, that has been a good experience for us, but definitely use caution when hiring a babysitter you don’t know.
Tip: If you can’t afford to pay a babysitter, you can ask a family member or trade babysitting with friends who have kids.
We leave our kids with a sitter about once a week, so having a “regular” babysitter on call is incredibly helpful. (We also have several “occasional” babysitters we can call if our regular sitter is unavailable.) Not only does it help to eliminate the need to vet out a sitter each time you need one, but it’s helpful for the kids to have a familiar face.
What Requirements Should You Look For in a Babysitter?
Babysitters should be at least 12 years old and have experience working with kids. A teenage girl who has younger siblings or has worked as a “Mother’s Helper” might make a great babysitter. It’s important for a babysitter to know basic first aid and CPR. Try to find one who has taken a babysitting course through the American Red Cross or American Heart Association.
Give Your Babysitter a Tour of Your Home
The first time a babysitter comes to your home, be sure to give them a thorough tour, noting any safety concerns. Discuss with them anything you feel is necessary such as doors which may become locked easily from the inside, keeping windows closed and doors locked. This is especially important if you have a child who can open doors and try to escape.
Talk to the babysitter about potential dangers in and around the home. Show them where the medicine cabinets are located as well as a first aid kit. Discuss other things you feel could be a problem, such as your child climbing to get toys, and how to deal with that possibility. Ask them how they would react in each circumstance.
Prepare Food Ahead of Time
Having any food you want your babysitter to serve prepared ahead of time can help to eliminate any dangers of kitchen accidents. If a babysitter does need to prepare any food, keep it simple for her.
I recently stocked up on Kidfresh meals at Kroger. They’re perfect to keep in my freezer for when a babysitter needs to feed my kids.
[Thanks to Kidfresh and Kroger for sponsoring this post. For a limited time at Kroger and Kroger family of stores you can save at least 15% off the everyday retail price at Kroger!]
Kidfresh = Convenience + Relief for Busy Moms
Kidfresh meals are convenient for busy days or for times when you need the babysitter to feed the kids. Simple and quick to prepare, they go from freezer to table in only 4 minutes, and they come in a variety of flavor options.
Kidfresh = Hidden Veggies + Best in Kids Nutrition
Each Kidfresh meal is made with up to a 1/2 cup of hidden veggies and is fresh frozen as soon as it is prepared to ensure maximum nutrition. Kidfresh meals are great sources of proteins, vitamins, calcium, iron, fiber, and more!
Kidfresh = Trust and Credibility
Created with the help of a top chef and a pediatric nutritionist, Kidfresh meals are consistent with USDA dietary guidelines for all children. Plus, Kidfresh meals are packaged in BPA-free trays to ensure that you can safely prepare them at home.
I served Kidfresh meals for supper one night last week, and all the kids loved them!
I’d also recommend communicating any “off limit” food and/or drinks with your babysitter if you don’t want your kids having free reign of the kitchen while you’re gone. Add these food restrictions to your printable babysitter checklist (see below) for easy reference when the kids ask for a snack!
Communicate Key Information with Your Babysitter
Knowing what information your babysitter needs is key to keeping your kids safe with a babysitter.
Discuss Emergency Procedures
Talk to your babysitter about how to react in an emergency. Depending upon the emergency, would they call you first or call emergency personnel? What is your preference? Do they have permission to take your child to the emergency room if necessary? These are things you don’t want to have to worry about, but things you’ll want to discuss beforehand.
Be Clear About Expectations
Be sure to communicate what you expect and what they can expect. Tell the babysitter where you will be and when you’ll be home. Leave them the contact information of a nearby friend or relative they can contact if there are problems they can’t handle.
Write down your house rules (especially important if you have older kids who might be tempted to try to get away with what they know isn’t allowed because Mom and Dad aren’t home). Communicate your kids’ schedule/routine, especially if meal times or nap/bedtime will occur while the babysitter is there. Have your children’s names, ages, and any special instructions (allergies, medical needs, etc.) written down on a printable babysitter checklist (see below) for easy reference.
Do you want the babysitter answering the phone or the door while you’re gone? Are the kids allowed to play outside? Can the babysitter (if she drives and has a vehicle) take your kids anywhere? Are the TV and computer off-limits while you’re gone? There are a variety of details you’ll want to be sure to communicate with a babysitter to help keep your kids safe while they’re in her care.
Fill Out a Printable Babysitter Checklist
Having a printable babysitter checklist is incredibly handy. You can write down all the important information you want to be sure to communicate and leave it behind for the babysitter to reference.
Grab a free copy of this printable babysitter checklist by filling out the form below!
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I've printed off a copy of this babysitter checklist and laminated it so I can reuse it over and over again.
I can use a dry erase marker to fill in the specifics for each time a babysitter comes over, and then hang it on the fridge for easy reference.
Keeping Kids Safe with a Babysitter
Now what will you do while the babysitter is there? Perhaps a date night with your spouse... or maybe a one-on-one date with a child? Whatever you choose, enjoy your freedom. And relax, knowing your kids are safe with the babysitter.